mentioned congressional permitting measures and others.
In recent months, activity has centered upon implementation of the RuS $600 million “pilot project” that will finance
construction of broadband networks in unserved areas and
Farm Bill rural development provisions that promise more
funding for such deployment. NTcA has met repeatedly
with policymakers to express support for the programs
while attempting to ensure that new resources
will be steered toward projects that will best
sustain broadband in rural America.
Finalization of these efforts will remain a high
priority into 2019, and NTcA also remains well
positioned to contribute to any discussion that
may reignite with respect to a more comprehensive infrastructure package.
Net neutrality remains top of mind in D.c. telecom circles, even if the specific question of the
commission’s authority is now (yet again)
being considered in court and challenged by
some states. On a related note, many in
congress and across the industry are beginning to consider how to address consumer privacy across technology platforms, including
but not limited to broadband services. NTcA
will remain focused in 2019 on practical issues
of essential importance to rural consumers,
particularly how rural communities will stay
interconnected with the rest of the world in a
broadband era; how broadband rates will
remain affordable without having the costs of
network interconnection all fall onto the backs
of rural consumers; and how reasonable expectations as to consumer privacy can be satisfied
regardless of what type of entity holds data.
Content and Spectrum Issues
unfortunately, 2018 was another “lost year” in
the effort to control content costs. Still, NTcA
left no stone unturned in this effort, making
targeted arguments to help improve matters in
the content marketplace and opposing transactions that would exacerbate already insufferable content pricing. In 2019, reauthorization
of a satellite programming law might provide a
vehicle for action, and NTcA is coordinating
with other stakeholders on how best to leverage that for potential progress.
Meanwhile, the commission opened numerous dockets in 2018 to free up spectrum that will
promote fixed and mobile wireless broadband.
As these efforts roll into 2019, NTcA will con-
Michael Romano is senior vice president of industry affairs and
tinue to advocate for spectrum allocation policies that
strike a balance between enabling smaller operators to
serve rural markets while also ensuring that the licenses
are of a reasonable size to justify investment in them. l
business development at NTCA. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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